From the UK to Europe and beyond, 2019’s festival season looks set to be the busiest ever. Here’s everything you need to know
In years gone by, ‘festival season’ for UK metalheads simply meant everyone converging onto Castle Donington once a year for Monsters Of Rock. Fast forward to the late 90s and early 00s, and with Donington taking an extended hiatus from the festival scene, it was Reading (and later Leeds) that metal fans would flock to every summer to catch glimpses of their favourite bands in a muddy field.
Not any more. Since Download emerged 16 years ago, fans of heavy music have become increasingly spoiled for options when it comes to where to spend their money each summer. This year, there will be more festivals than ever boasting line-ups full of kickass metal bands – and that’s before you even look beyond our own shores.
still the daddy of British rock festivals, Download has come out swinging in the face of increased competition this year, showcasing three colossal headliners in Def Leppard (performing classic album Hysteria in full), Slipknot and a returning Tool. There’s also the small matter of Slayer’s final ever UK show, plus more announced heavyweights in Smashing Pumpkins, Slash, Whitesnake, Trivium, Lamb Of God and Rob Zombie. Look further down the bill and you already have a ton of metal mainstays on the line-up – Dream Theater, Carcass, Opeth, Skindred, The Amity Affliction and Whitechapel to name just a few of them. Oh, and just to spice things up, Die Antwoord are playing too. Ridiculous. And potentially brilliant.
Bloodstock, too, have put together an impressive bill, headlined by Sabaton and the mighty Scorpions (third headliner TBA at time of going to print), plus the likes of Cradle Of Filth, Anthrax, Code Orange, Tesseract, Children Of Bodom and Dimmu Borgir, proving that the UK metal Mecca is not messing around.
If you’re looking for options beyond most metalheads’ two first choices, how about UK Tech-Fest? Taking place every mid-summer, it’s become the de facto home for metal’s more progressive and genre-expanding bands – though its 2019 line-up is yet to be announced. There’s also ArcTanGent in August, which has flexed its metal credentials by booking Meshuggah for the Swedes’ only UK show of 2019. Bullet For My Valentine at Slam Dunk is one of this summer’s surprise bookings. While there’s some decent punk and hardcore at the May Bank Holiday, multi-location fest – Gallows, Knocked Loose and Turnstile included – you’ll have to wade through a lot of dredge for it. Reading and
Leeds have moved further and further away from heavy bands in recent years, but they do normally have a pretty decent line-up on The Pit stage, so if you fancy catching some of the good stuff in between Post Malone and The 1975 this August, keep ’em peeled. And then there’s
All Points East in May – a relative newcomer, but giving Bring Me The Horizon their first ever outdoor UK festival headline slot. The supporting cast is a diverse bag so far – hip hop heavyweights Run The Jewels, pop starlets Yonaka and trap-metal leader
there are more festivals than ever this year!
Scarlxrd amongst the names – but it does suggest that there could be yet another festival muscling in on big rock acts every summer.
MANY METALHEADS HAVE found that looking a bit further afield for their festival kicks is a realistic and refreshing option in the modern climate. Germany’s Wacken and France’s Hellfest tend to sell out well in advance – no surprise given their almighty line-ups – but there’s plenty more to be found around Europe this year. June’s Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park remains a crown jewel in mainland Europe’s festival scene, this year boasting a line-up including Slipknot, Slayer, Tool, Bring Me The Horizon and Tenacious D. You could give Roskilde a go – essentially a Danish Glastonbury with added metal, this year alone seeing Power Trip, Converge and Testament rubbing shoulders with The Cure, Christine And The Queens and Brockhampton. If you fancy a trip to Austria, you could do worse than hitting up Nova Rock in June, where you can catch Slayer, Slipknot, Smashing Pumpkins, Sabaton and In Flames among others. Belgium’s Rock Werchter is another mixed line-up – where else will you see Tool and BMTH alongside Muse, Pink and Kylie?! Want a proper holiday feel to your fest? Try Slovenia’s Metaldays, complete with a lush lake and beach plus a killer line-up including Architects, Dimmu Borgir, Akercocke, Kvelertak, While She Sleeps and more.
Of course, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you could head even further afield. North America’s festival scene has exploded in the last few years, and already the likes of Epicenter (North Carolina), Sonic Temple Art (Ohio), Welcome To Rockville (Jacksonville) and Chicago Open Air (Chicago… duh) have announced absolutely stacked line-ups. And those are all in May alone.
Put short: it’s going to be a hell of a summer. Ours is a pint. Keep an eye on our Live eviL pages every month to see the Latest additions to festivaL biLLs
You have no excuse not to catch Slipknot somewhere this summer. Unless you don’t like them.